The SAT Benchmark was designed to measure the college readiness of groups of students. The SAT Benchmark score of 1550 is associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first year GPA (FYGPA) of a B- or higher, which in turn is associated with a high likelihood of college success. Students meeting the benchmark score of 1550 were more likely to enroll in a four-year college, had higher first-year GPAs and were more likely to be retained for their second and third year than those students who did not attain the SAT benchmark.
The SAT Benchmark can assist secondary school administrators, educators and policymakers evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs in order to better prepare students for success in college.
The SAT Benchmark is designed for groups of students and should not be used for high-stakes decisions regarding the college readiness of any individual student. As college readiness depends on a number of factors, meeting or not meeting this benchmark does not guarantee success or failure in postsecondary education for any individual student. The benchmark should never be used to discourage students from pursuing postsecondary education.
The College Readiness Continuum
Many factors contribute to college readiness. A student is considered college ready when he or she has the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to successfully complete a college course of study. Because college readiness and completion is dependent on many academic and non-academic factors, students who score below the SAT Benchmark can still succeed in college.
The College Board continues to advise that, for individual high-stakes decisions such as admission. SAT scores should always be used together with high school grades and other factors.
SAT Benchmark Achievement: Class of 2012
Among the high school class of 2012, 43 percent of all SAT takers met the SAT Benchmark. This percentage is consistent with the class of 2011, which also met the SAT Benchmark at a rate of 43 percent.
Success on the SAT is closely related to the type and rigor of course work students pursue in high school. Similarly, students in the SAT class of 2012 who met the SAT Benchmark were more likely to have completed a core curriculum. These results illustrate the need for common standards that will enable all students to develop the core competencies critical to college and career success.
Students in the class of 2012 who met the SAT Benchmark also were more likely to have parents with a four-year degree.
In addition to the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark, the College Board provides subject-level readiness indicators for each section of the SAT — critical reading, mathematics and writing — as a supplemental tool that can be used to help educators measure students’ preparedness in each subject area. More than 40 percent of all SAT takers met the subject-level college readiness indicators in critical reading and writing, while more than half met the subject-level indicator in mathematics.
SAT takers in the class of 2012 who met the subject-level college readiness indicators were more likely to have participated in rigorous honors or Advanced Placement courses.